NORTH Albury assistant coach Matt McDonald believes injuries and a lack of confidence have been behind the Hoppers’ dramatic form slump.
The Hoppers have lost their past four matches to Albury, Wodonga, Wangaratta Rovers and Corowa-Rutherglen.
They are desperate to regain some touch before taking on the Hawks in the elimination final at Myrtleford on Septem- ber 1.
McDonald limped off with a groin injury only minutes into Saturday’s match against Corowa-Rutherglen and faces at least a week on the sidelines.
“The weekend was disappointing,” McDonald said yesterday.
“There are a few sore boys, but we just didn’t play well enough.
“Once we get our full side back we should be OK.
“It would be a shame to waste our season.”
North Albury looks set to regain coach Jason Akermanis and youngster Rory Feltwell from injury to play Lavington at Bunton Park on Saturday while Kane Godde is also a chance of returning.
But McDonald virtually ruled himself out.
“I think I went off after 10 minutes so it wasn’t a long day for me,” he said.
“I had it looked at yesterday and it doesn’t look like it’s torn.
“There is a fair chance I’ll miss this week.”
North Albury takes on Lavington and Wodonga Raiders in the final two rounds.
The Hoppers will finish fifth regardless of the results, so are unlikely to risk any players under injury clouds.
Most interest will centre on full-forward Adam Prior’s quest to win a third Strang Medal.
The former East Perth player is one goal clear of Wangaratta’s James Wong and two ahead of Yarrawonga spearhead Brendan Fevola, who will return from suspension in round 18 against Albury.